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3 min

3 Key Considerations for a Public Cloud Migration

Factors such as cost, compliance and internal skills will affect your transition to a cloud environment.

Organizations often migrate IT resources to public cloud environments to free themselves from cumbersome, complex and sometimes downright messy on-premises data centers. Indeed, the cloud can help IT leaders work in a streamlined, right-sized environment that dramatically reduces both resource requirements and management burdens. 

But the actual move to the cloud is often far from simple. 

To smooth the transition, IT and business leaders should carefully consider these three key factors when looking to migrate.

Cost: The Devil Is in the Details

Determining the difference in true costs between an on-premises investment and a public cloud migration is often more difficult than it initially seems. Typically, organizations begin to seriously consider the cloud around the time that their on-premises equipment is nearing its end of life. But the capital cost associated with a like-for-like on-premises refresh is only one financial factor at play. 

By optimizing their environments for the public cloud, organizations can often reduce their resource requirements, resulting in dramatically lower licensing costs. Also, moving away from an on-premises data center eliminates expenses associated with power and cooling, as well as the “soft costs” of personnel time spent managing the infrastructure. However, this doesn’t mean that the public cloud is always the less expensive option. Especially if an organization does a straight “lift and shift” migration (failing to replatform inefficient on-premises environments for the cloud), the recurring operating expenses of cloud infrastructure can soon surpass the capital expense of an on-premises upgrade. 

Financial modeling tools can help IT and business leaders get an accurate picture of their total costs in either scenario, and a trusted partner such as CDW can help optimize cloud environments for both cost and performance. 

Compliance: Protecting Data Is Critical

Data safety regulations drive much of the discussion on cloud migrations, and organizations must ensure that any prospective public cloud environment meets their compliance requirements. This is especially true for organizations in highly regulated sectors such as finance, law, healthcare, education and government. In fact, many organizations in these fields were initially hesitant to move any resources to the public cloud, precisely because leaders were worried that their data might not be secure. 

As the public cloud has matured, organizations in these industries have successfully leveraged cloud resources. Still, compliance assessments should be a foundational component of any organization’s cloud journey.

In-House Talent: Focus on the Most Valuable Work

Whether workloads reside in an on-premises data center or the public cloud, someone needs to be responsible for the ongoing management of the infrastructure environment. On-premises infrastructure offers organizations more direct control over their environments, of course, but for many IT leaders, this additional level of control is not worth the amount of staff time needed to maintain the infrastructure. 

Although the public cloud requires much less hands-on management, internal IT staffers must work to continuously optimize their cloud environments and monitor them for critical alerts. For many organizations, it makes sense to use a managed services provider, such as CDW, and allow internal staff to keep their focus on the core business.

Story by Arun Daniel, a senior data center and cloud consultant providing solution design and integration. Arun has been with CDW for two years and has 20 years of experience in designing, deploying and managing all aspects of data center services and cloud services.